OK, this may come as a shock to my wife and kids but there’s long been a 28 year-old bride inside of me just waiting to burst out. Seriously, there’s a feminine streak running more than skin-deep inside of me. My poet-mother’s influence, for sure. That and growing up with an independent-minded New England grandmother . And then there’s the fact I have and am still raising daughters, listening to their hopes, dreams and concerns.
The story: There are moments in our lives that come into extra super-sized heightened relief. All of our emotions and desires and hopes and dreams meet at a crossroad of expectations. As a writer, you search for such moments and stories that explore humanity with their backs against the wall. To me, one of those most emotional times in life is “the wedding,” particularly if you, like many, have dreamt of that day since you were a little girl (or boy.)
Who would he or she be? How will we meet? Where will the wedding be held? What will the dress look like, the wedding party? How will that explosive, overpowering happiness feel? Speaking to couples I’ve known, divorced and in tact, I found the germ of an idea over how little they sometimes found they had known the other person, the subtle surprises they had since discovered after the wedding day. Some of these were pleasant surprises, others, less so. I remember wondering if we really ever truly know the people we marry. For some, this not knowing, can last a lifetime.
From here I placed myself inside my young woman’s skin and let my imagination fly: the wedding details, the best friends who’ve shared the dream since childhood but are now dealing with the reality of adulthood, the groom’s ambitions, the secrets we all harbor thinking we’re protecting our loved ones while we protect ourselves. I began conjuring a story which raises questions about how our parents influence us for the good and otherwise, parent-child relationships, the strengths and weaknesses of which come into stark contrast at such life-cycles, the female bond which can be so life-affirming and, at times, so threatening to others. I’ve also long been fascinated by the world of forensics and chanced upon an article on the Vidocq Society. I knew I wanted to incorporate these hardly known sleuths and their work into Maddie’s world. And then there’s the not unconnected worlds of sex and politics that always entice. And putting Maddie into the art gallery world fed my longstanding fascination with how art speaks to us and mirrors our lives.
Discovering Maddie’s voice was my greatest journey. Hearing her develop from some place inside of me I bubbled over with a bride’s excitement, full of fears and untold determination.